How often should you mow your lawn? Garden experts share their advice for healthy, happy grass
Lawn experts explain how often you should mow your lawn along with sharing insights into the best techniques for healthier grass
The debate of how often should you mow your lawn has become a hot topic in recent years, often dividing gardeners into two camps – those in favor of frequent mowing for a well-manicured patch and those who are keen to aid the ecosystem by letting the grass grow.
The movement for letting the grass has been a key garden trend in recent years, where imperfect landscaping is embraced in order to provide a habitat for wildlife. But for now, if you prefer a more manicured look where the need for mowing is greater, our experts are on hand to share their recommendations on how often you should cut the grass – while also revealing the best practices to follow to ensure you're 'mowing right.'
Our team of lawn experts includes a Wimbledon groundsman and lawn care specialists, who all share their professional recommendations on how often you should cut the grass depending on which of the two aesthetics you'd prefer for your backyard.
How often should you mow your lawn? Here's what the experts say
When it comes to how often you should mow your lawn for a well-tended plot the resounding consensus from our experts is at least once a week.
If you are after a Wimbledon-worthy lawn you'll want to mow frequently, and if there's anyone who should know it's Dominic Pollock, a groundsman at AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis & Crochet Club). Speaking exclusively to womanand&home, Dom suggests you should mow your lawn at least, "once a week, twice if needs be."
Miracle-Gro's gardening expert Kate Turner agrees, saying, "It’s important to have a regular mowing routine. From spring to autumn you should aim to mow your lawn once a week, but less often if it has been very dry, (once a fortnight) with your mower blades on a high setting. In periods of drought, do not mow your lawn at all."
"Your grass will grow quicker in the summer, and it’s better to cut little and often than all at once," explains Carlos Real, a lawn care expert and Managing Director of TotalLawn. “In the main growing season, the extra sunlight means you want to be mowing every two or three days, or at least once a week if your schedule is tight."
But Carlos warns, "only mow if you’re committed to watering. If you are watering regularly then you should carry on mowing every two to three days, but if you can’t commit to solidly watering your lawn, it’s best to avoid mowing too often. That’s because heat causes additional stress on the lawn, and mowing will only add to this as it tries to recover."
In summary, little and often is what our experts advise - but ultimately, like when we talk about how often should you vacuum or how often you should wash your sheets, it's a matter of personal choice to suit your lifestyle.
When is the best time to mow your lawn?
Generally speaking, the best time to do any gardening job is in the early hours or late in the day, to avoid the sun. This is as crucial for your lawn and best garden plants as it is for you because the powerful rays can be harmful.
While mornings are a prime time to mow you should avoid cutting in the mornings if there have been showers or frosts overnight, Dom advises, "don't cut wet grass to avoid causing unnecessary stress."
Kate also advises on when is best to hydrate the grass. "If you are going to water your lawn, do this in the evening. It is often too hot during the day so the water will evaporate, and you will scorch the lawn."
Does cutting grass encourage growth?
"Yes, it does! This is why you should have a regular mowing routine," explains Kate. "Mowing will allow the grass to thicken and encourages the grass to branch out. The more you mow, the thicker the lawn gets. This also helps to stop pesky weeds from sprouting up. Remember not to mow too short though, as this can damage the grass."
So, as tempting as it may be to rushedly mow your lawn before hosting a garden party, don't cut your grass prematurely – stick to the guidelines when it comes to when to first cut grass after winter and thereafter.
Tips to mow your lawn like a pro – and the mistakes to avoid
Mowing your lawn feels like a simple enough task, but there are surprisingly common mistakes we're probably all making without even realizing it. Our experts share their tips to combat any mistakes to ensure a luscious, healthy lawn in no time. And if you're feeling especially green-fingered after tending to your lawn, check out our top gardening tips guide.
1. Don't cut the grass too short
The length of the leaf is crucial to a healthy lawn. “In general, you shouldn’t take off more than one-third of the height in a single mow, as this will put the plant under unnecessary stress, and it may discolor if you overdo it," advises Carlos.
"Remember to adjust your blade height as necessary, and if you have the desired height, it’s best to be patient – it may take a couple of mows to get there!”
2. Speed things up
Don't think the highest setting is damaging the grass, your mower has been designed to be super-efficient for good reason. “Remember to always choose the optimum speed for your mower as it will result in a much better cut" explains Carlos.
"Some mistakenly believe that cutting at full speed damages the mower’s engine and shortens its life, but the truth is all mowers have been created with full speed for a reason – it’s best to use it!”
3. Avoid only mowing in straight lines
While everyone strives for a beautifully striped lawn it turns out the motion of only moving in straight lines could be damaging your grass. "Varying your mowing pattern is good for your lawn over time as it means you’re not repeatedly forcing the grass to bend in one particular direction," explains Carlos.
"Instead, one week start at the top of your garden and finish at the bottom and alternate it the next time you mow. This will make the stripes look slightly different, and result in stronger and more resilient grass over time.”
4. Benefit from leaving grass cuttings on top
Avoid the temptation to box off after mowing, i.e remove the excess cuttings. While removing them allows you to stand back and admire your new neatly cut lawn you are in turn depriving your lawn of natural goodness.
"There are valuable nutrients in the clippings," Dom explains, "so if you don't have to remove them for appearance I'd recommend leaving them."
5. Frequently clean your mower
It goes without saying that you'll always get better results when you keep your lawn mower in tip-top condition.
“It can be tempting to leave your mower for a while after you’re done with your lawn, but the longer you leave it, the harder the grass clippings are to remove," warns Carlos. "A build-up of clippings will result in your mower overheating the next time you cut, which can cause it to break down – an expensive mistake to make for something that would only take you a couple of minutes at the end of each mow!”
Is it bad luck to mow the grass before easter?
There's recently been a fair amount of trending talk around the subject of whether or not it is considered bad luck to mow the grass before Easter. It appears this may have been an age-old superstition, one which many clearly still hold true when it comes to performing the task of cutting the grass on Easter Sunday. Steering clear of mowing appears to be more based on the day of rest and not mowing out of respect, according to the comments on most gardening forums.
But in terms of horticultural reasons as to why not to mow before Easter, it would purely be down to weather conditions. Mowing at this time of the year, the same as knowing when to plant grass seed in spring is totally dependent on climate conditions – which in recent years have become far less predictable.
"As a rule of thumb, we recommend waiting until temperatures are consistently above 8 degrees before you think about mowing your lawn," advises Chris McIlroy, a horticultural expert at The Grass People. "When temperatures are below 8 degrees, your grass is typically in a state of dormancy, where it grows a very small amount, so slowly, it’s almost unnoticeable."
Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 19 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 16 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.
With a keen eye for the latest interior trends, there's not a lot she doesn't know about home decor – whether it’s what colour we should be painting our living rooms next season, or if the latest 'must-have' buys are actually worth investing in.
A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interiors trend events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.
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